Our third and, sadly, final New York Close Up film on artist Alejandro Almanza Pereda premieres today. Though the urge to make Return of the Jedi references was very hard to resist, we fully embraced another, slightly more obscure piece of pop culture: John Carpenter’s 1981 classic Escape From New York. Check out the full film to see what I mean:
And even though this episode’s a bit longer than the norm, as usual there’s some great stuff we couldn’t include. In particular the sometimes tortured backstory behind Alejandro’s underwater photography project that’s highlighted in the film. Dramatic above-water highs alternate with equally dramatic under-the-surface lows. It would have made a great extreme sports movie; but, alas, we’ll have to make due with a choice selection of photos and interview material, featured below.
ALEJANDRO ALMANZA PEREDA: I had an idea of this project back in 2007. I was in Mexico City at the time. I got a grant for making underwater sculpture from the National Fund for the Arts in Mexico. My idea was to just to kinda experiment with materials and objects underwater and to see how they behave and create these kinda structures. Like my older work, kinda counterbalancing [objects], but in a different environment.
AAP: So I don’t know why, but I’ve kinda always fascinated about those bubbles, that trap inside of spaces underwater. When you see a cup, you say, “Oh it’s an empty cup,” but it’s not empty, it has air, no? So when underwater that air becomes content in a way. It’s interesting. So I bought a big tank and I just started putting stuff in it. Things behave so much differently underwater.
See the full interview on the New York Close Up website.
Alejandro Almanza Pereda (b. 1977, Mexico City, Mexico) lives and works in Mexico City, Mexico.
CREDITS | ART21 New York Close Up Created & Produced by: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Editor:. Cinematography: Nick Ravich & Andrew Whitlatch. Sound: Nick Ravich. Design & Graphics: CRUX Studio & Open. Artwork: Alejandro Almanza Pereda. Music: La Rubia te Besa, Jose Luis Cortes, Jose Antonio Elguezabal, Roberto Galindo, & Juan Matus (Yodex). Thanks: Arizona State University Art Museum International Artist Residency at Combine Studios, Rowan Burkam, Natalee Cayton, Abelardo Cruz-Santiago, Greg Esser, Reiko Hamano, Hunter College, Sheetal Khanna-Ravich, Gordon Knox, Carrie Marill, Maira Monroy, Matthew Moore, Julio Cesar Morales, Lateral Move, Estrella Payton, Wayne & Alison Rainey, Birgit Rathsmann, Morgan Riles, Arkadiy Ryabin, Claudia Peña Salinas, Seung Yeon Huh, STUDIOCANAL & Zach Trow. An ART21 Workshop Production. © ART21, Inc. 2015. All rights reserved.
ART21 New York Close Up is supported, in part, by The Lambent Foundation; the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; and by individual contributors.